FORT DEFIANCE — Overcoming adversity while hosting its own invitational, the Fort Defiance High School competition cheerleading team finished runner-up in its division on Wednesday night at the Indian Classic cheerleading competition.
The 11 teams competing, Fort Defiance was placed in a division with county teams Riverheads, Wilson Memorial and Buffalo Gap, along with Bull Run District teams from Clarke County and Central-Woodstock.
The other teams competed in another division and included Albemarle, Fluvanna County, Rockbridge County, Turner Ashby and Spotswood.
When the judges scores were finalized, the Indians came in second to Clarke County, with Rockbridge finishing second to Spotswood in the other division.
Despite having a couple of slips in their routine, the Indians scored enough other points to take runner-up honors.
“We had some deductions of eight points which is significant in this, but we hit all our difficulty marks,” said FDHS head coach Melissa Hill.
The Indians, who lost two key members of the team due to injury, have had to adopt an entirely new routine; within the last two weeks.
“We have high hopes for the season in spite of the setbacks and this is the most talented team we’ve had here in a while,” Hill said.
It was the first actual on-the-mat competition for Fort and many of the other teams that competed.
“It’s real important to have this home crowd in here every year,” Hill said. “It’s been a rough month for us, but I’m really proud of what we did tonight and the girls were really so excited; we got the jitters out tonight.”
Currently, the Fort has just 12 team members.
Wilson has an even smaller contingent, showing just nine varsity competition cheerleaders.
“This invitational is really well run and the girls were proud of themselves tonight,” said second-year Wilson head coach Quinn Emery.
Fame, a local All-Star cheer group, delighted the large number of fans who attended.
Each year, the Indian Classic is an important fund-raiser for the cheerleading squad. Fort Defiance athletic director Mark Mace estimated that Wednesday’s event raised approximately $2,800.
The four county schools competing Wednesday will be back in action on Oct. 10 at the Buffalo Gap Invitational.